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Alcohol Addiction: Brain Disease or Behaviour Problem?

Prof. Matt Field

Matt Field (@field_matt) is Professor of Psychology at the University of Liverpool, where he heads up the Addiction Research Group, investigating the cognitive, biological and social processes involved in addiction, with a focus on problem drinking and cigarette smoking.

He is co-author of Essential Abnormal and Clinical Psychology, and a regular contributor to the Mental Elf and other online resources on the topic of addiction. In 2009 he was the recipient of the British Psychological Society Spearman Medal, and since 2014 he has been an advisor for Alcohol Concern’s Dry January campaign.

In today’s episode we discuss the topic of alcohol abuse and addiction, and it’s relationship to mental health.

So, what exactly is the difference between alcohol abuse and addiction? Does alcohol addiction run in families, and who is most susceptible? We discuss the alcohol paradox; that is, why people in deprived communities have higher levels of alcohol-related ill health than people in non-deprived communities, despite drinking the same amounts of alcohol.

We discover why stopping drinking is only half the battle in overcoming alcohol addiction. What you can do, as a friend or relative, to help somebody with a drinking problem. What the government could – but seemingly won’t – do to help reduce the amount of alcohol related harm. We also tackle the most controversial question of all: whether or not is alcohol addiction a brain disease or a disorder of choice?

Want to see whether or not YOU are drinking too much? Check out this 7-day unit calculator from DrinkAware which will calculate how much alcohol you consume over an average week and indicate whether or not your intake could be affecting your health.

 

 

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Image courtesy: Matthias Ripp